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AI and Automation – What it Means for the Future of Work

In an age that is becoming increasingly dictated by technology, what are some implications that AI will have on the future of work?

Andrew Yang at Techonomy

In the status quo, technology is often looked at as a vehicle by which the world is made a better place. But what are its implications on the future of work?

Social media has “connected the world”. Biotechnology has been at the forefront of making the diagnoses and curing of diseases a much more efficient process. Likewise, artificial intelligence could be looked at as having made human life easier – after all, by definition, it has replaced some of the mundane tasks that humans had to take care of.

Notably, Google’s recent Duplex demo at GoogleIO has shown us the sheer power of artificial intelligence in making its work indistinguishable from a human’s.

As an AI is already capable of making calls on behalf of one, the potential of AI to replace tasks normal of humans is endless. But we shouldn’t be surprised or dazzled by a demo that blurs the lines behind human and machine-level communication. In fact, x.ai, an enterprise-facing artificial intelligence-backed personal assistant company has been around as early as 2014. But with convenience comes a cost – a very serious one.

At the forefront of pointing this out is Andrew Yang, notable for founding prestigious fellowship Venture for America, dedicated to inspiring young entrepreneurs to create jobs and spur local economies, and most recently, 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate and author of The War on Normal People.

Focusing on myriad economic issues, Andrew underscores the existing wage and education gaps across a variety of racial demographics, and utilizes a slew of statistics to elucidate that automation is naturally going to replace the menial jobs and further perpetuate the wage gap, including decimate. His solution? A Universal Basic Income (UBI) via what he calls The Freedom Dividend, “a set of guaranteed payments of $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year, to all U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 64” is what Andrew sees as the best option.

UBI has been touted as a possibility by some of the world’s elite, including the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, but most notably, Sam Altman, the head of prominent Silicon Valley incubator, YCombinator, has invested over $2 million of his own money as an initial trial run of UBI.

Like Andrew, Sam believes in the viability of UBI, and despite understanding the vast potential of AI, including investing in some of the most prominent modern-day AI companies, he is somewhat careful about the advancement of AI. As a co-founder of OpenAI, Sam works to “discover and enact the path to safe artificial general intelligence”.

And because AI has such immense potential to be used for the betterment of modern society, it is important to remain open-minded. But at the same time, we mustn’t ignore the fact that over half of all jobs in the modern workforce have the capacity to be automated away, per CNBC.

So what’s next? Will “software eat the world” as Marc Andreessen says? Will robots take over the world? Or will AI work in tandem with human beings to be more efficient than employees have ever been, empirically?

Well, it depends – and in our lifetimes we’ll find out.

Originally published at youthbizcollective.com

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